Toyota takes to the Irish roads with its fleet of new hybrids

With new Rav4 SUV, Camry, and Corolla, Toyota reckons 80% of its car sales next year will be hybrid

New Toyota Camry: Toyota Ireland expects 600 Camry sales in a full year and the expected best selling Sol entry-level model will cost €40,750

New Toyota Camry: Toyota Ireland expects 600 Camry sales in a full year and the expected best selling Sol entry-level model will cost €40,750

 

Toyota Ireland previewed a fleet of new hybrids models for 2019 at a showcase event in Dublin. Toyota’s latest additions to the hybrid range features many familiar model names that will launch between January and April next year. Toyota says its hybrid range will account for 80 per cent of its car sales next year with the remaining petrol only models.

The cars on show included the new Corolla four-door saloon, touring sports estate and the UK-built hatchback which replaces the Auris. The hybrid RAV4 SUV also made its first Irish appearance, as did the large Camry saloon.

Brexit uncertainty has led to production and supply concerns for carmakers with plants in the UK, given their just-in-time supply chains. That may impact on Toyota’s Corolla hatchback production.

It’s a welcome return of the Camry to these shores after a gap of over a decade, only this time with just a fraction of the original’s exhaust emissions thanks to the hybrid powertrain.

New rules and Brexit issues

Toyota says the stars are aligned for hybrid thanks to the VW diesel emissions cheating scandal, which in turn has led to several cities announcing future bans on diesel cars. The Japanese car giant says that strict new WLTP emissions regulations have had minimal effect on its range. Toyota points out that non-hybrid models from rivals have seen a noticeable increases in quoted emissions with the knock on impact on retail pricing.

At the recent Paris Motor Show, the company’s European boss Johan van Zyl told The Irish Times if there is no deal on Brexit, it may mean the company’s plant near Derby, which employs nearly 4,000 workers, may have to close for a short period if there is disruption to its just-in-time parts supply. Currently parts arrive every four hours. Mr van Zyl said the solution is not as simple as adding extra warehousing, as parts are sequenced from multiple suppliers to arrive at exactly the right time for the line.

The new fleet

While the new Corolla is available in petrol or hybrid form the RAV4 and Camry are only hybrids.

The fully hybrid RAV4 range gets a 30mm longer wheelbase that frees up more cabin space and there is 41 litres more boot space. The carbuilds on the striking looks of its smaller sibling, the C-HR. Pricing starts from €37,590 rising to €40,990 for the Sport model. The RAV4 goes on sale on January 4th.

Toyota Rav4 SUV: sharp styling touches taken from smaller C-HR while also featuring the latest hybrid powertrain
Toyota Rav4 SUV: sharp styling touches taken from smaller C-HR while also featuring the latest hybrid powertrain

The Corolla arrives not only with hybrid but with increased levels of equipment. The saloon version replaces the discontinued Avensis albeit in combination with the Camry. The boot is slightly larger despite the hybrid packaging needs and the quality of materials used in the cabin is significantly updgraded. Prices start at €27,700 for the new Corolla Luna saloon, while the estate starts from €26,995 – as does the hatch. The Corolla hatch goes on sale on January 16th followed by the estate and saloon by mid-February.

The new Toyota Corolla Touring estate and hatchback: The full range arrives not only with hybrid but with increased levels of equipment
The new Toyota Corolla Touring estate and hatchback: The full range arrives not only with hybrid but with increased levels of equipment

Camry returns

The Camry on show was an early pre production model but looked impressive. The 218hp four door hybrid saloon should deliver 4.2 litres fuel consumption 100 kilometres (67mpg). This is impressive when you consider it has a 2.5 litre petrol engine at its hybrid core. Round the back, the 524 litre boot is just shy of an E Class’s 530 litres.

Toyota Ireland expects 600 Camry sales in a full year and the expected best selling Sol entry-level model will cost €40,750, while CO emissions of 99g/km-101g/km should keep the motor tax bill low. The car goes on sale from April 4th, although orders are already being taken.

New Toyota Corolla saloon: replacing the current Avensis which is being discontinued
New Toyota Corolla saloon: replacing the current Avensis which is being discontinued

Asked if hybrids are merely a short-term fix on the way to an electric future, Toyota Ireland’s chief executive Steve Tormey said that despite the government stating all new cars sold in 2030 should be zero emissions electric vehicles, the company still believes hybrids will be on sale at that stage. However, by then Toyota will have its own fleet of fully electric vehicles on the road, with 10 already planned to be on the market within the next seven years. The future is electric: but it will come in a variety of flavours it seems.